Chef Name: Ashley Palmer-Watts
Two Michelin Stars for Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
8/10, Good Food Guide.
Four AA Rosettes.
Seven years in the top 50, The World 50 Best Restaurants.
How old were you when you started cooking professionally?
17 years old.
What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food?
When I worked at Le Petit Canard, the owners took me to Le Manoir de Rétival in France, where I can still remember sitting on the terrace drinking champagne and eating canapés overlooking the River Seine.
Which chefs inspire you most and why?
Heston Blumenthal for his restless drive and thirst to learn more.
What are your two favourite cookbooks and why?
With over 500 books in my collection it is hard to choose just two but my most cherished books are White Heat by Marco Pierre White and French Laundry by Thomas Keller.
Which two ingredients could you not live without?
Salt and olive oil.
What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?
Sunday roast chicken.
If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world of your choosing today, where would it be and why?
It would be hard to choose between Maaemo in Norway or Fäviken in Sweden.
And who would you take as your guest?
My wife Emma.
What do you look for in a good chef?
A love of food, a willingness to learn and an ability to taste.
What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now?
Find the place that will give you a solid foundation of basic techniques. Spend a couple of years building your knowledge before taking the next step and going on to learn other techniques and approaches.
Ashley Palmer Watts was previously Chef Director at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.